As of now, back to school is all over the place. Some teachers are going virtual. Some teachers are in-person. And some teachers are doing a hybrid mixture of both. If you are finding yourself in a virtual back-to-school situation, I’d love to bring you a few ideas of how to simply make this work!
Below, I will outline a few ideas that will help with Back to School Virtual Ideas. These ideas are going to be changed just a bit to fit your new virtual teaching situation…
- Open House Ideas
- First Day Virtual Party
- All About Me Activities
- Introducing Rules and Procedures
- Zoom Read Alouds
- Getting To Know You Activities
- Letting Them Reflect
Start HERE if you’re new to Google Classroom teaching.
If this is all super new to you, I wrote a blog post about Google Classroom. First, read these tips about teaching using Google Classroom. Then, head back to this website to learn how to apply all of that information to your back-to-school situation.
Link: Google Classroom Tips
Open House Ideas: Back to School Virtual Ideas
Planning to have an open house over the internet? This is different! Usually, this is your chance to meet parents face-to-face and show them your students’ spaces. This is also your opportunity to collect information about individual students. That is still very important this school year, so you’ll just need to provide those pages virtually. In my BTS Forms and Worksheets, you can have virtual parent and student questionnaires.
Open House/Meet the Teacher Tips:
- Send parent and student questionnaires virtually
- Record a video of you outlining how the day will go
- Record a video tutorial of getting around the platform you choose to use
- Allow “office hours” for them to pop in to chat
- OR use Sign Up Genius to schedule time slots for this
Prepare a First Day of School Party
Plan to have a first day celebration with your students. You can plan to have a Zoom party with your kiddos. You can even create and send out invites to make the party an official last day of school celebration. Let the kiddos chat and get to know each other informally!
Ideas for your back-to-school party:
- First, create a slideshow of pictures of your classroom and new virtual classroom. You can even make a slideshow introducing yourself!
- Start with your favorite BTS read aloud
- Plan some team-building activities
- Then, ask each kiddo to share one fun fact about themselves. They can volunteer or you can go one-by-one and ask everyone’s response.
Virtual Read Alouds for the Beginning of the Year
Not only are your back to school activities looking different this year, but so are your read alouds. I have suggested read alouds below. Each of these back to school read alouds are highly engaging for a student to listen to. Try reading one a day during the first week or two of school! I have a blog post (click here) that outlines why each book is perfect for your classroom! Each of the links below are affiliate links to Amazon.
- How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan
- The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- The Pigeon HAS to Go to School by Mo Willems
- A Tiger Tail by Mike Boldt
- My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
- First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
- All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman
- Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Introducing School Rules Virtually
School rules will be tricky this year. One reason it will be harder is because you’ll have to create new rules that apply to online class, too. So, you’ll need so create 5-6 school rules that can apply to their expectations online. If you find yourself in a hybrid classroom, you’ll have to teach two sets of rules/procedures (both in-school and online). I would suggest teaching online rules during your first couple of online meetings. Then, I would suggest teaching in-person rules when you meet in person. I would not teach them all together. This may confuse the kiddos with too many rules to keep up with at one given time. Each time you meet online, review the rules and procedures for only virtual school. A fun way to introduce these rules would be with a digital flip book where they’ll write in their rules and write about their procedures!
Link: School Rules Flip Book
Let Them Record About The First Days
In a normal situation, the students would always record and reflect on their first days of school! Keep this up. Allow them to write about their feelings and activities in those first few days. Throughout their first two weeks, assign them with a specific memory book page. That page can be about their goals, their new friends, how they feel about certain subjects, and more. It gives you a good opportunity to get them writing, while also allowing them to reflect on their feelings. I have a Back to School Memory Book that comes with both a paper copy and a digital copy, for whichever scenario you may find yourself in.
Getting to Know Each Other
One of the biggest concerns about digital back-to-school is students’ mental health. Their inability to communicate with their friends normally is a big concern for parents and teachers. Although you’ll teach students about the mute/no talking during Zoom calls, set up time where they are allowed to talk. Allow students to continue talking to friends through calls. These cooperative learning activities are still just as important than when they were in class.
Link: All About Me
Another fun get-to-know you activity is Find Someone Who. I always have students grab a clip board and a pencil, then circulate the room. This obviously will not work this year. I have a free version of these Find Someone Who pages. There are two free activities for students. Try doing this in a Zoom call and turn it into a whole group game. Students will describe if they match that box and their friends can type their name into the boxes. You can snag this freebie by signup up for my email list. The freebie will be sent directly to your inbox.
FREE Email Link: Find Someone Who
Virtual Back to School Suggested Products:
Throughout this blog post, I’ve mentioned several digital back to school products I have converted. Here are all the resources I think will help Back to School Virtual Ideas! They all come with both worksheets and digital Google Slides access. You can choose which option you want.
Thanks for reading! I hope you walk away with tips today that will help set you up for virtual success!
Want more back-to-school blog posts?